Summer safety tips to keep kids safe

Summer fun is in full swing, which coincides with an increase in bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly worse. To keep kids safe, prevention and first-aid should be at the forefront of parents' minds this summer according to Dr. Karen Judy, Loyola University Health System pediatric safety expert and professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"Supervision is the most important part of a parent's summer safety kit. Accidents still happen, but if an adult is around, there will be someone who can respond to the situation," said Judy. "Summer is a hectic time. With everyone going in a million different directions it's a good idea to be prepared."

Heat:
We all know the summer months are hot so be sure your kids are well hydrated to avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
•Carry water with you at all times. Don't rely on the place you are going to have water available. Dehydration can happen quickly in children so make sure there is enough water for everyone.
•Don't use plastic water bottles. The heat can melt the plastic, releasing dangerous toxins called BPA into the water.
• Heed warnings. If there is a heat or ozone warning, take it seriously. Limit outside exposure and make sure your kids have access to a cool place.
•If you suspect your child has a heat-related illness contact your pediatrician immediately.

Sun:
We all need some sun exposure, but too much sun can cause skin damage,
eye damage and skin cancer. Keep kids safe from dangerous ultraviolet rays:
•Apply sunscreen generously about 15-30 minutes before going outside. Make sure you are using at least a 30 SPF sunscreen, preferably one that is sweat proof and waterproof if going in the water. Also, make sure often overlooked areas such as the tops of the feet and tips of the ears are covered.
•Reapply sunscreen every few hours. Sunscreen can wear off, leaving kids vulnerable to damaging rays. Be sure to re-apply sunscreen if outside for extended periods of time.
•Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes.
•Don't forget the lips. We slather sunscreen all over the body, but often forget that our lips are exposed as well. Use a lip balm with a high SPF.
•Stay indoors during the heat of the day when sun exposure is as its highest.
•Be sure to have aloe on hand in case of sunburn.

Bugs:
For the most part bug bites and stings are only a nuisance, but they can be dangerous.
•Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn when the bugs are most prevalent.
•Use a kid-friendly bug spray. Those with DEET are the most effective in keeping bugs away.
•Check children for ticks after playing in woods or tall grass.
•Seek medical attention immediately if your child:
ois wheezing or having trouble breathing
oFeels tightness in throat or chest
oHas swelling of lips, tongue or face
oFeels dizzy or fain
oIs vomiting

First-Aid:
Bumps, bruises and scrapes are just a part of summer. So here are a few items to help your kids feel better, other than a kiss:
•Adhesive bandages
•Antiseptic spray
•Topical antibotics
•Anti-itch lotion
•Antihistamine pills and creams
•Acetaminophen
•Seek medical attention if:
oA cut is larger than a dime and/or continues to bleed.
oA bone may be broken if a child can't bear weight on a leg or foot, is unable to use an arm, or a limb is extremely swollen and he child is in severe pain.

Source: Loyola University Health System

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